After four generations, it was Remi Schmaltz and his brother Tasha’s turn to take over the family farm. But in the age of digital transformation, the brothers did more than just expand their roots in agriculture. They innovated on their legacy as creators of a truly 21st century solution – the digital farm.
Decisive Farming was launched in 2011 to provide farmers with precision agronomy solutions: using technology to apply efficient farming techniques that are acutely specific to their land and crops.
Today, the company deals with 1,500 farms, six million acres of land, in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, as well as customers in the U.S. In 2019, Decisive Farming was acquired by TELUS and is part of their new, global business unit that is focused on transforming the food value chain.
The ultimate goal according to Remi Schmaltz, CEO and co-founder of Decisive Farming: “More strategic decision making on the farm.”
Decisive Farming’s digital platform goes by the name My Farm Manager®. A central hub for any farm which allows farmers to track and access historical information about their land to make informed decisions about their operations. It is used by big global players in agriculture like John Deere, Federated Co-op and Case IH. The Croptivity® app is used to save time on tasks such as data entry, team management, customer collaboration and reporting from the field or other remote locations.
The company uses patented variable rate technology (VRT) to zone farmland via imagery, topography, and other data layers. Using this technology, farmers can put a prescription into their tractor’s computer to fertilize, water, and treat the field according to that information. VRT is key to optimizing yield potential, allowing farmers to track more precisely where they need to spend on seeding and input.
Schmaltz emphasizes the growth and support in Calgary’s innovation ecosystem and hopes to give back through business incubators like the Creative Deconstruction Lab—Rockies and The Accelerator, two programs for Calgary-based founders of seed-stage startups. CDL-Rockies, the Calgary chapter of Creative Destruction Labs, offers a specific program stream for agriculture startups.
“I’ve had lots of help over the years, so I try to give back,” said Schmaltz. “I’d like to be able to help other entrepreneurs navigate the system.”
Now that Decisive Farming is aligned within the TELUS ecosystem, the company will be pushing more into the US, with additional acquisitions in Canada and the U.S., to further consolidate the market. It is also ramping up their software and tech team, working with the TELUS AI group.
For the full story on Decisive Farming and other opportunities with innovative companies in Calgary, visit the Live Tech, Love Life page.